Everything You Need to Know About Arizona Corporations:
Arizona Incorporation Options
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How to Incorporate in Arizona
To start a corporation in Arizona, you’ll need to do three things: appoint a registered agent, choose a name for your business, and file Articles of Incorporation with the Arizona Corporation Commission. You can file this document online, by mail or in person. The articles cost $60 to file. Once processed by the state, this document formally creates your Arizona corporation.
Per AZ Rev Stat § 10-501 (2020), every Arizona corporation must appoint a registered agent. You don’t need to hire a registered agent, but if you do, make sure your registered agent will list their address on your articles wherever possible to ensure maximum privacy.
If you’re starting a new business, you probably already know what you want to name your corporation. But you’ll need to know if your preferred name is available. To find out, visit the AZCC Entity Search and browse until you find the perfect name for your corporation.
Once you know who your registered agent will be and what your corporation name is, you’re ready to file your Arizona Articles of Incorporation. Follow along with our filing instructions below:
Filing the Arizona Articles of Incorporation
Learn more about each Articles of Incorporation requirement below. Note that the information you provide becomes part of the public record—permanently.
Better yet, skip the form entirely and hire us to incorporate your Arizona business. We provide a free business address to list whenever possible throughout the filing to better keep your personal address private.
1. Entity Type
Select whether your business is a “business corporation” or a “professional corporation.” Professional corporations provide state-licensed services (think doctors and lawyers). If you are a professional corporation, you’ll also have to briefly describe your professional services in your Articles. Tip: Most corporations are just regular business corporations.
2. Entity Name
Your name must include “Association,” “Company,” “Corporation,” “Limited,” “Incorporated,” or an abbreviation for one of these words, like “Inc.”
3. Professional Corporation Services
Skip this section if you’re a regular business corporation and not a professional corporation. Otherwise, explain the professional service you’ll provide in a few words.
4. Character of Business
What is your corporation actually going to do? Manufacture pet food? Sell and install flooring? Just put a few words to describe the main business activity of your corporation.
You have to authorize (create) at least one share. You can distribute some or all of these shares later on at your organizational meeting. In your articles, list how many of each kind of share you’re authorizing. Classes of shares might be, for example, common and preferred, with each class subject to different rights and restrictions.
6. Arizona Known Place of Business
While it sounds like something out of an old detective movie, “known place of business” is just a physical Arizona business address. It can be your actual office location, or it can be your statutory agent’s address. (That means when you hire Northwest, our address can go here—and you can better keep your personal address off public documents). An added bonus of using our address here? Our office is in Pima County, one of two Arizona counties where you don’t have to personally file a notice of publication in local newspapers after incorporation.
You have to list the name of every director of your corporation. You also have to include their business address, which can be the corporation’s “known place of business” (which, once again, can be our address when you hire Northwest).
8. Statutory Agent
For your Arizona registered agent (aka “statutory agent”), you can list an individual (like yourself) or a business that provides statutory agent services (like Northwest). We recommend Northwest.
9. Statutory Agent Address
This Arizona street address is where your statutory agent will be available to accept legal notifications on behalf of your business. Like all the information in your Articles of Incorporation, this address will become part of the permanent public record of your corporation. Hire Northwest and our address will go here.
10. Statutory Agent Acceptance
Your agent has to accept their appointment by completing and signing an attachment called the Statutory Agent Acceptance (Form M002). This way, the state knows that your agent is aware of their responsibilities to your corporation.
11. Certificate of Disclosure
This is a mandatory form (Form C003) submitted along with the Arizona Articles of Incorporation. Basically, the state wants to make sure that no one in your business is playing fast and loose with financial laws. For example, you have to disclose if any director, officer, major shareholder, etc. has fraud or antitrust convictions or has recently gone through bankruptcy with another corporation.
12. Arizona Incorporator
Someone has to sign your Arizona Articles of Incorporation, and that person is your incorporator. Incorporators don’t have to be directors, shareholders, or anyone in the corporation—but they do have to be willing to provide their name, address, and signature. We’ll be your incorporator when you hire Northwest.
Why Have a Registered Agent Form Your Arizona Corporation?
Professionals in Arizona hire registered agent services like Northwest Registered Agent for incorporation—but why?
Standard filing companies don’t have employees or offices in every state. But as a national registered agent, it’s a requirement for us, which is a benefit for our clients. Our office is in Oro Valley, AZ. We’re on a first name basis with the people who work in the Arizona Corporation Commission.
As your registered agent, we list our Oro Valley registered office address on your corporation’s formation documents. Why? If you’re starting a business from your apartment in Phoenix, do you really want your apartment address as your business address? (Hint: the answer is no.) We’ll list our address, so you don’t have to list yours. Plus, we never sell your data. We don’t list your personal information on filings if we don’t have to. It’s all standard and part of our commitment to Privacy by Default®.
Free Mail Forwarding & Business Address
At Northwest, we do everything a registered agent should do and more. You can list our address as your business address on your state filings. We include limited digital mail forwarding with registered agent service (up to 5 pieces of regular mail per year; $15 a doc after that).
We know the in’s and out’s of each state—and we use this knowledge to help you when you need it most. Our team of Corporate Guides® has over 200 local business experts. You can call or email us for answers to all your questions about your corporation in Arizona. Our Corporate Guides are dedicated solely to helping you with your business—not selling you services or meeting quotas.
What Do I Do After My Arizona Corporation Is Formed?
After your Arizona Articles of Incorporation are approved, you still have a few more important steps to take, including getting an EIN, drafting bylaws, holding your first meeting, opening a bank account, and learning about state reporting and tax requirements.
Get an EIN
Your federal employer identification number (commonly known as an EIN or FEIN) is similar to a social security number for your business. The IRS assigns these numbers and uses them to easily identify individual corporations on tax filings, including federal corporate income tax returns.
Why does my Arizona corporation need an EIN?
The IRS requires corporations to get an EIN for their federal tax filings. You may also be asked for your EIN when opening a bank account, securing a loan, or applying for local business permits and licenses.
How do I get an EIN for my corporation?
You can get an EIN directly from the IRS. The application is free, and most businesses can apply online. However, if you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need to submit a paper application form. Can’t bear to fill out yet another application? Hire Northwest to get your EIN for you. Just add on EIN service during checkout when you sign up for our incorporation service.
Write Corporate Bylaws
Bylaws are the internal rules you set for your business. They put into writing how decisions will be made and who gets to make those decisions. All the major organizational processes and procedures for your corporation will go in your bylaws.
For more on Arizona Corporate Bylaws (including free Arizona Corporate Bylaws templates), see our Arizona Corporate Bylaws resource.
Do I need bylaws for my Arizona corporation?
Yes. AZ Rev Stat § 10-206 (2019) states that the board of directors shall adopt bylaws. You don’t have to submit bylaws to the state though. Corporate bylaws are internal documents you keep with your other corporate records, such as meeting minutes and resolutions.
What should bylaws include?
Corporate bylaws cover basic policies and procedures for issues such as company finances and management. Bylaws should cover a range of topics, answering key questions like those below:
Meetings: When and where will meetings for shareholders and directors be held? How many attendees are required to transact business? What are the procedures for voting or proxy voting? How do you call a special meeting? What actions can be taken without a meeting?
Stock: How are stock certificates issued and transferred? How is voting affected by issues such as corporate stock owners or fractional shares?
Directors and officers: How many directors must there be? Which officer positions are required? What powers do they have? How do you fill a vacancy or remove a director or officer?
Finances: What are the procedures for retaining profits, issuing dividends, and paying bills? Who can withdraw money from the corporate bank account or sign checks?
Records: Where is the corporate book to be kept? What information will be maintained? How are requests for review or access honored? Can records or copies be kept or distributed digitally?
Amendments and emergencies: Who can amend bylaws and how? Can emergency bylaws be adopted in the case of disaster?
According to AZ Rev Stat § 10-206 (2019), bylaws can make other provisions as well, assuming additions are in accordance with state law. For example, AZ Rev Stat § 10-627 (2019) states that Arizona bylaws can restrict the transfer of shares.
How do I write bylaws?
Creating bylaws can be overwhelming—where do you start? Northwest can help. We give you free corporate bylaws when you hire us to form your Arizona corporation. We know what kinds of topics and questions corporations need to address, and we’ve spent years refining and improving our forms. We offer many other free corporate forms as well, including templates for resolutions and meeting minutes.
Hold an Organizational Meeting
An organizational meeting is the first official meeting of the corporation after the business is legally formed with the state. At this meeting, bylaws are adopted, officers are appointed, and any other initial business is conducted. The first meeting minutes should also be recorded and added to your corporate record book.
Are there any special rules for Arizona organizational meetings?
AZ Rev Stat § 10-701 (2019)—the statute that goes over the requirement for an organizational meeting—is pretty straightforward, simply stating that the majority of the board should call a meeting of the board of directors to adopt bylaws, appoint officers and complete initial business.
Open a Corporate Bank Account
Businesses that mix personal and business finances together risk losing their liability protections, so your corporation will need its own bank account. In addition, a corporate bank account is essential for easily accepting payments, paying bills and holding funds.
How do I open a bank account for my Arizona corporation?
To open a corporate bank account in Arizona, you’ll need to bring the following with you to the bank:
A copy of the Arizona corporation’s Articles of Incorporation
The corporation’s bylaws
The corporation’s EIN
If your bylaws don’t specifically assign the power to open a bank account, you may also want to bring a corporate resolution to open a bank account. The resolution would state that the person going to the bank is authorized by the business to open the account in the name of the corporation. At Northwest, we provide free corporate bank resolutions, along with many other free corporate forms, to help you get started fast.
File Arizona Reports & Taxes
In Arizona, corporations file an annual report each year. In addition, your corporation is subject to state taxes, including the state’s corporate net income tax and a gross receipts tax called the “Transaction Privilege Tax.”
What is the Arizona Annual Report?
Your Arizona Annual Report is a form you submit every year to the Arizona Corporation Commission in order to confirm your current ownership and contact information. The report and $45 fee are due on the anniversary of your incorporation. (It’s like your company’s birthday! Except the ACC gets the present.)
These filings can be easy to forget—which is why we send our clients automatic reminders. Or better yet, let us file for you. With our business renewal service, we can complete and submit your annual report for you for $100 plus the state fee.
How much is the Arizona Annual Report?
Arizona corporations are required to pay a $45 filing fee to submit their report each year.
Forget to file? There’s a $9 a month penalty. After 90 days unpaid, the ACC will send you a Notice of Pending Administrations Dissolution. Roughly 60 days after that, the state will dissolve your corporation. Yikes.
What should I know about Arizona corporate taxes?
The Arizona corporate net income tax rate is a flat 4.9%. There’s a minimum tax of $50.
Arizona has no sales tax per se, but the state has a Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT). This is a gross receipts tax that sellers pay on their income from retail sales. Businesses are allowed to pass the TPT onto customers, so it typically ends up appearing similar to a sales tax. The state TPT rate is 5.6%, but cities and counties can tack on their own TPTs, so the total rate can be as much as double the state rate.
Arizona Corporation FAQs
How can I submit the Arizona Articles of Incorporation?
You can file Arizona articles online, by mail or in person. For online filings, you’ll need to create an account with eCorp (the Arizona Corporation Commission’s online filing system). Paper filings must be submitted with a cover sheet to:
Arizona Corporation Commission
Corporate Filings Section
1300 W. Washington St., Phoenix, Arizona 85007
How much does it cost to start an Arizona corporation?
The Arizona Corporation Commission charges a $60 filing fee for Articles of Incorporation, but this state processing time can take weeks. Expediting is an additional $35.
*Note: Depending on the county where your corporation is registered, you may also have to pay a fee to publish a notice of formation after your articles are approved (see the publication question below for details).
What are the publishing requirements for an Arizona corporation?
Arizona is one of the few states that requires some businesses to publish notification of formation. Most Arizona corporations will have to publish a notice in a local newspaper for three consecutive issues of the paper. (“Local” is a relative term here. The newspaper must be located in the same county as your statutory agent’s address.) After you file your articles, you’ll receive an approval letter from the Arizona Corporation Commission, which will include directions for publication. There is typically a fee for publication, but rates for each newspaper vary.
Good news, however, if your business is located in Maricopa or Pima County. These two counties automatically publish a notice for you online in the Public Notice Database for no fee. Our Northwest office is in Pima County—so when you hire us and list our address as your principal address, you can skip this headache entirely.
How long does it take to start an Arizona corporation?
Unexpedited processing time is usually around 20 business days. Typically, expediting means your articles will be processed in 8 days.
Does an Arizona corporation need a business license?
Arizona doesn’t have a general, statewide business license—but there are loads of specific licenses and permits you may need. For example, if you sell anything, you’ll need a TPT license from the Arizona Department of Revenue.
Counties, cities, and towns may have their own licensing requirements as well. For instance, if you’re engaging in business in Tucson, you’ll need to pay the $25 fee for a Tucson Business License.
For some license applications you may need an EIN or a certified copy of your Articles of Incorporation. At Northwest, we can streamline the process and get these for you—simply add on these items during checkout.
What is a foreign Arizona corporation?
A corporation formed outside of Arizona—but which conducts business in the state—is considered a foreign Arizona corporation. For example, if you incorporated in New Mexico but decide to open a storefront in Arizona, you would be a foreign Arizona corporation. This also means you would need to register with the state by filing an Application for Authority to Transact Business in Arizona with the Arizona Corporation Commission. Foreign corporations are required to file the Arizona Annual Report each year as well.
Can Northwest help me form a nonprofit corporation?
How can I get an Arizona phone number for my corporation?
It’s a conundrum: you need a local number to display on your website and give to customers, but you don’t want to make your personal number quite so…public. We get it. And we’ve got you covered with Northwest Phone Service. We can provide you with a virtual phone number in any state—plus unlimited call forwarding and tons of easy-to-use features. You can try Phone Service free for 60 days when you hire us to form your corporation, and maintaining service is just $9 monthly after that. No contract required.
How to Order Arizona Incorporation Service
Our Arizona incorporation service is designed to be fast and easy—signing up takes just a couple minutes. Here’s how it works:
We’ll form your Arizona corporation for $320 total and include one year of registered agent service, a secure online account filled with business maintenance tools and all the state forms you’ll need, and the lifetime support of our expert Corporate Guides. Just choose Hire Us below, answer a few easy questions about your business, and submit your payment.
Next, we’ll prepare and submit your Arizona Articles of Incorporation to the Arizona Corporation Commission. In the meantime, you’ll have immediate access to your online account, where you can find useful state forms, pre-populated with your business information.
Once the Arizona Corporation Commission has approved your filing, we notify you that your Arizona corporation has been legally formed. You can now move on to next steps, like holding your organizational meeting and opening a bank account.